Camel pageant 'like a World Cup' for beautiful beasts in Qatar

Finest animals paraded in front of an audience as Gulf country hosts world's football nations

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As football — the beautiful game — grasps the world's attention in Qatar, a beauty of a very different kind is also being appreciated enthusiastically in the small Gulf nation.

While most sets of eyes are on the Fifa World Cup, camels from across the Gulf are competing at the Qatar Camel Mzayen Club’s beauty festival in Ash-Shahaniyah.

"The idea is similar to the football World Cup, we did a camel beauty World Cup”, club president Hamad Jaber Al Athba told Reuters.

He called the camel "a companion during the beginning of civilisation in the Gulf".

With their heads held high and chewing constantly, participating camels waited in a pen before being paraded in front of an audience seated indoors and enjoying coffee and sweets while gauging the beautiful beasts.

The competition between camels is fierce with different categories according to age and type.

"Black camels are judged according to the size of the body and the head and the location of the ears,” Mr Al Athba said. "But with the Maghateer-type camel, we look for proportionality and the ears should be dropping down, not stand straight, in addition to the way the mouth is curved."

To avoid fraud and detect cosmetic surgery, a medical committee examined the animals before allowing them to participate in the beauty pageant.

The committee president said owners sometimes used fillers, Botox or silicon to increase their camel’s chances of winning — foul play that results in disqualification.

Ahead of declaring the winner of the day’s competing category, other female camels were milked and the owner of the one producing the most was rewarded 20,000 Qatari riyals (about $5,500).

But all eyes were on the competition between Maghateer-type camels over the age of four, the day’s competing category, the winner of which received a sum 10 times higher.

The Saudi Arabian owner of the camels that won bronze and gold in the competition, Mohanna Ibrahim Al Anazi, was thrilled after receiving his prize.

"I can't describe my feelings, because this female has an audience like the audience of the World Cup, like Real Madrid or Manchester (United)," he said. "And now, they are all celebrating."

Updated: November 30, 2022, 1:28 PM